Circlesquare: Songs About Dancing and Drugs

Photography by Zoe Bridgeman; courtesy of Canvas Media
Photography by Zoe Bridgeman; courtesy of Canvas Media

It’s not one for the kids. You won’t hear it on the radio, live from the club. Kanye probably won’t sample it. The closest it comes to catchy is the “ah-ah” hook of “Ten to One.” But Jeremy Shaw’s eight-track wonder, Songs About Dancing and Drugs (K7 Records,, threatens to wear a groove in your brain all the same. The dancing is more of a dazed shuffling and the drugs are on a drip, and slowly, somehow, you can’t get this deep, dark electro out of your head.

Is Shaw Circlesquare, or is Circlesquare Shaw? There are two other members who perform live and a third who does visuals at the shows. But Shaw writes all the lyrics, pulling on Leonard Cohen’s poetry and Thom Yorke’s paranoia, and sings them over glitches, warps, delays and strung-out guitar loops. Songs About Dancing… is the third Circlesquare release and it looks to be the big one; lead single “Dancers” (which sounds more like dazed shufflers, but OK) has already been remixed by Konrad Black. Vancouver-born, Shaw now lives and mixes in Berlin, where it seems he’s absorbed the bleak and bleeping minimalism of German techno. Call it the anti-banger—haven’t you had enough of migraine electro, anyway?—and play it again. Yeah, sure. It’s hip to be Circlesquare.

Also! Speaking of dancing and drugs, you have to try the flower-child acid trip that is the newest Antony and the Johnsons video. Directed by the Wachowski Brothers and starring Antony’s artistic partner Johanna Constantine as (we couldn’t make this up) “Deer Monster,” the video is a wildly alive imagining of “Epilepsy is Dancing.” (That would be the first single from Antony & Co’s fantastic new album, The Crying Light, out as of Jan. 20 on Secretly Canadian.) View it via YouTube by searching for “Epilepsy is Dancing.”

And if you’re a fan, don’t miss Antony and the Johnsons’ two Canadian tour dates: February 17 in Toronto and February 27 in Vancouver (details and tickets on

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